122 Quay Street,
(09) 374 3952
The ViewAuckland Review
4 out of 5 stars
Since when did cricket get this exciting? We’ve barely taken our seats at the Northern Steamship Co Brewbar & Restaurant when the first ball of the 20-20 match between India and New Zealand is dispatched over the boundary for six runs. The bar’s multiple flat TV screens pick up the action nicely and across the next 3 hours or so another 23 sixes are heaved across the ropes. Cricket was never like this in the old days.
Mind you, pubs weren’t like this in the old days either. Despite a few playful nods to retro Kiwiana like souvenir teaspoons and a plywood stag’s head, this place is a thoroughly modern pub. If 20-20 is cricket re-imagined for the 21st century, then this place is a thoroughly reworked classic Kiwi pub for a new era.
Since we were here last, other Mac’s Brewbars have opened around Auckland – we especially like the Neighbourhood across in Kingsland – but the original still retains the innovative template. It’s a big open space that really utilises the high ceilings and wooden floors of this former warehouse. And 12 months since our last official visit, it’s retained its popularity too. When I came for drinks before the Leonard Cohen concert at the nearby Vector Arena a few weeks ago, it was standing room only.
Tonight though the focus is firmly on the cricket. It’s New Zealand’s summer game after all, so I order a glass of Mac’s zingy Sundance Summer Ale. The winelist is equally Kiwi, with a good representation of warm-weather friendly varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Gris.
With harbour views, a central city location, and quirky Kiwi décor, the Northern Steamship Co is a popular and convenient choice for overseas travellers. The fact it’s listed in the latest Lonely Planet guide to New Zealand probably also accounts for the number of international revellers in tonight. In between snapping pics of the forest of upside-down retro lampshades, a couple of German backpackers ask me about the rules of cricket. They’ve come all the way overland through Asia and Australia and reckon New Zealand’s their favourite place yet.
With the late afternoon, early evening sun streaming in through the big picture windows I can see their point.
Since when did Kiwi pubs become this laid back and enjoyable?
Northern Steamship Co Macs Brewbar has been reviewed by 9 users